Origin Story

The Origin of “My Very Own Library”
By Founder, Anne Feeley

Children who own books have better lives. The more books the better. It’s that simple.

It is hard for readers to understand how much of our life depends upon our literacy. I awoke just a few hours ago but I have read quite a bit already: the thermostat, newspaper headlines, a recipe for a cake I’m baking this afternoon, emails, facebook and my appointment diary. When I leave the house I will have to read road signs, shop signs and on and on and on.¬†Even more than the practical help reading enriches life. Reading can add many layers to our understanding of ourselves and of our world. And reading can just be fun.

Many many years ago I took a job at a prison half-way house. I only lasted a week because it was so hopeless. I was to help people find work through the want ads but not one person could read them. This experience has stayed with me for the last 30 years.

Four years ago I became a volunteer reading coach for a local school. My first year I read with a boy who didn’t have books at home and he wasn’t interested. But by the years end he was reading at home. The next September when I arrived at school he was sitting in a circle of boys during lunch break; they were all reading. When he saw me he waved his book and said: “Miss, I love reading!”

My Very Own Library was born.

Get in Touch


The University of Chicago
Attn: University of Chicago My Very Own Library
5801 South Ellis Avenue, 5th Floor
Chicago, IL 60637



Join our Mailing List